VHS to instate new PDA policy
By Lucy Wing, Content Editor
This article was published as an April Fools joke and contains no factual information.
Beginning April 18th, 2022, Vashon Island High School will be instating a new policy, the “PDA Plan”, to crack down on public displays of affection (PDA). The PDA Plan is in response to the increase in PDA after the mask mandate was lifted on March 12 and will go through a trial run returning from spring break. Outlined in the policy are actions such as holding hands, hugging, excessive eye contact, and other intimate actions that are deemed inappropriate for the school environment.
The VHS staff and Administration are the driving forces behind this policy change brought on by student complaints.
“We’ve received multiple reports of students engaging in PDA making others uncomfortable. As the administration, it is our responsibility to ensure the school is a safe environment, and if people are uncomfortable, they don’t feel safe,” VHS vice principal John Erickson said.
The administration has been working with student representatives to develop the PDA Plan and these students have requested to be anonymous with the controversiality of the policy.
“The PDA is definitely worse than I remember from before COVID. It’s been a topic of conversation around the school and I wanted something to be done about it,” one anonymous representative said.
The PDA restrictions will fall under the Student Conduct section of the VHS student handbook and will ban PDA from the VHS campus during school hours.
“I’ve worked here for a long time and having something in the handbook about PDA will hopefully discourage it,” VHS Government teacher Jason Butler said. “I don’t want to see kids all up in each other when I’m here.”
VHS is planning on heavily enforcing the PDA Plan and all staff will have the authority to issue a citation.
“We’re instating a warning system so the people involved have the opportunity to adjust their behavior before they receive detention,” Erickson said. “While it is somewhat up to teacher discretion, there will be a baseline we ask teachers to follow.”
In addition to the warning system, the administration, in tandem with the Vashon DOVE Project, is discussing having students register with the school as a couple.
“[Having students register as a couple] would hopefully encourage students to hold healthy conversations about their relationship and how they want to present said relationship,” Maya Battisti, Youth Advocate and Prevention Specialist at DOVE said.
This tentatively set registration policy was met with strong opposition from the student representatives, as well as some staff.
“The administration has no business knowing the relationships students have with each other, as a parent I find that a huge breach of privacy,” Butler said.
The PDA Plan will begin in a trial phase on April 18th and is open for changes before being officially implemented in the handbook for the 2022-2023 school year.
“I hope this policy will be a positive change in our school and I look forward to working with students on smoothing out the kinks,” Erickson said.